Dear readers, listeners and fellow bloggers:
Good morning. Today practicing Christians like us remember the time when Our Lord Jesus Christ had his Last Supper with his disciples before being detained in the Gethsemani Garden by the Romans. Caravaggio masterfully retrieved that moment in a tableau for us to visually catch it.
Note. This reproduction of Caravaggio’s The Taking of Christ was taken from Wikimedia Commons.
When we were young, we always went the church of Nuestro Señor de la Paciencia, a decrepit old church in the basement of a larger one in Montevideo, Uruguay, with our grandmother Yolanda and our mother Gladys. the childhood memories are so tender and solemn at the same time, made us use them as background for a scene in our novel Madame D.C – the Three Voyages. Here is an excerpt of that book that you can find as a Kindle edition by clicking this link. Enjoy the reading.
-“Anda, chaval, no podeis quedaros atras!” was the curt admonition of grandmother Pilar to his grandson, holding his hand in the long procession inching slowly downstairs in the church of “Nuestro Señor de la Paciencia” in the old quarter of Montevideo during the Good Friday festivity of 1965. As Pilar was in town at the time of Easter recess. Carmen thought that her mother—piously devout of “La Macarena”—might like that special ritual.
It was an ancient church located in the basement of a bigger one in the old part of town, open only on Fridays due to its precarious architectonics. Parishioners could not visit it except on Good Fridays when they arrived en masse to thank for a granted favour. Or to ask for one. Or for both things.
Carmen, Pilar, Didier and Nadine parsimoniously walked down the steep stairwell along dozens of women that were clutching plastic flowers, alternatively chanting hymns or fervently praying during their slow descent. Downstairs, they gasped at the terracotta images dotting the whole contour. The children liked to examine all the small copper ex votos affixed to the grimy walls depicting arms, legs or eyes, reminders of the Almighty’s aid.
Pilar and Carmen kneeled down before San Antonio di Padova, patron saint of suffering lovers, their hands locked tight and praying in total silence. They both felt the dangerous threat, morphing in hiding but palpably close.
In the main altar there was an intriguing image of Jesus Christ seated on a rock and holding a slender baton in his left hand. The right hand was holding his reclined bearded visage, which had a decidedly gloomy look.
Padre nuestro, que estás en los cielos, santificado sea el tu nombre…
The loud praying of some committed old ladies echoed through the pews.
Didier was transfixed by the Christ’s melancholic image, free of pain.
Vénganos en tu reino, dános el pan de cada dia y no nos dejes caer…
That Christ was telling him that living meant waiting for something.
Y líbranos del mal, Amén…Padre nuestro , que estás en los cielos…
The litany of fervent prayer, carried out non-stop by devoted women, was a testimony of their big needs and even bigger hope for relief.
After half an hour of staring at the seated Jesus, praying and shedding a few tears, Carmen decided to lead the group out of the cavernous building. They slowly made their way upstairs in the middle of a crowd, back to the waning sunlight of a fall evening that was threatening to turn extremely cold.
– “How about if we go visit Tio Pepe?” said Carmen to the children.
-“Right,” Didier said, “he’ll invite us with hot ‘chocolate and churros’—“ They walked briskly a few city blocks to reach their Uncle’s house.
-“Bienvenidos,” Tio Pepe said when he opened the door. “Adelante!”
Let us celebrate together the utmost sacrifice made for all of us by Jesus Christ, Our Savior.
We take pride in the great Catholic faith conveyed to us by our dear parents and grandparents.
Muchas gracias Mamá y Mita.
What do yo think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.